As hard cover history books and documents are replaced digitally, it is imperative to retain ‘first’ versions of documents.  Publishing research on blogs or digital platforms are invaluable as they can reach many people faster than traditional print.  However, an inherent danger depending solely on digital is that history, research, and facts can be altered by a keystroke.  Unless a copy has been retained of the original document, the reader is none the wiser.  The use of digital only in education and research is questionable if there is no trail to the original published article/document.  Is the researcher even aware there was a preceding document which may have contained different research/data/information?

Here are some instances on how documentation was changed if it didn’t align with the initial promises of goals by NGOs or governmental agencies.  History is reinvented or ‘un’-discovered.  It can be altered or original knowledge is ‘unlearned’ and/or censored.  Filing a Freedom of Information Act is costly and may be denied or held up by the governmental agency (ask Sheryl Attkinson about her long wait to receive FOIAed documentation).  One less costly avenue to find out information is to access the Internet Archive, aka The Wayback Machine:

 

  • Does this belief of “unlearning” include scrubbing traditions and historical documents if they don’t fit into the “new” way of learning? How does one “unlearn”? Who decides what one should “unlearn”? What is “obsolete” and what is worth learning? Should teachers/students still have access to those documents and traditions that the State finds objectionable?  Could this article about India squelching historical documents via the Wayback Machine (provides information on cached/scrubbed webpages) happen in America?  http://missourieducationwatchdog.com/lesson-plan-for-the-day-from-missouri-dese-via-global-futurist-unlearn/

 

 

  • From a Fox District Watchdog blog:  For example, you can go back in time and read articles that were published on Fox’s website or view pictures of past administrators or school board members or old board meeting minutes as far back as 2001 simply by using the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine. The Wayback Machine is a digital archive or snapshot of websites at the time the snapshot was taken. It’s your portal to the past. It allows you to see a snapshot in time. You can find information that would have been difficult or maybe impossible to find or too expensive to obtain using Sunshine Law requests. Some of the information might even shock you. Wait till you find out how much our district our district was spending each year when Superintendent Critchlow became Superintendent compared to what we are spending now.
     
    The Wayback Machine gives you the ability to travel back in time just like Google Earth gives you the ability to view older satellite imagery allowing you to see how things have changed over time in your neighborhood or just about anywhere on the planet.    So check out the Wayback Machine and see what else has gone on in our school district over the years. You might be surprised at what you can find. It might even make for a good research paper for some of our students. It’s similar to digging up the time capsule that was buried under the flag pole next to the administration office back in 1976. It can reveal a lot about our district’s past. Hopefully the information can help steer our district down a better path in the future.  https://foxc6watchdogs.blogspot.com/2014/02/?m=0

 

 

If we do not have access to original documents, history becomes whatever the revisionists want it to be.  It is imperative to make PDFs, copies of documents and continue the existence of the Internet Archive:

 

About the Internet Archive

The Internet Archive, a 501(c)(3) non-profit, is building a digital library of Internet sites and other cultural artifacts in digital form. Like a paper library, we provide free access to researchers, historians, scholars, the print disabled, and the general public. Our mission is to provide Universal Access to All Knowledge.

We began in 1996 by archiving the Internet itself, a medium that was just beginning to grow in use. Like newspapers, the content published on the web was ephemeral – but unlike newspapers, no one was saving it. Today we have 20+ years of web history accessible through the Wayback Machine and we work with 450+ library and other partners through our Archive-It program to identify important web pages.

Having the Internet Archive as a resource is invaluable to educational researchers and historians.  Would you please donate to its mission to ensure its continuation?  A letter was recently sent asking for financial help.  It is worthy organization and consider donating today:

 

Dear Friend of the Archive,

About a month ago, I asked you to make a donation to the Internet Archive, and you said “maybe later.” I wanted to follow up one more time because the Internet Archive could still really use your help.

I ask you, humbly: please make a small donation today. We are a small nonprofit with a huge mission: to give everyone access to all knowledge – the books, web pages, audio, television and software of our shared humanity. Forever. For Free. Our work is only possible because of support from our community. The average donation is about $41. Now is the time we ask.

I think the Internet Archive is a bargain. We have only 150 staff but run one of the world’s top websites. We’re dedicated to reader privacy. We never accept ads that track you. But we still need to pay for servers and staff.

I know you find the Internet Archive useful, or you wouldn’t have responded to our appeal. It only takes 90 seconds!

Please chip in $10, 25, 50 or whatever you can to keep the Internet Archive going for another year.

We could really use your support.
Thanks and Happy New Year,

Brewster Kahle
Founder & Digital Librarian

 

Visit this Achieve.org link from 2010 which promised educational Nirvana.  Eight years down the educational reform road paints a very different picture.  The article has been archived so when researchers in the future try to figure out why legislators, superintendents, state agencies and educational organizations fell for snake oil promises, they’ll have an authentic starting point for their research.

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